Chris Steven, Abuja
Members of the labour movements protesting to demand good governance in the country were on Thursday in Abuja prevented from entering the Presidential Villa by a team of Mobile Police men who barricaded the Head of Service end of the Villa entrance.
The Police led by Deputy Commissioner of Police, Garba Mohammed, told the labour leaders, comprising of Ayuba Wabba, NLC President, Bobboi Kaigama, TUC President, Isa Aremu, General Secretary, Textile Workers Association and others that they should select 20 of them that would meet with the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo while the protesters would wait for them.
The protesters who took over the stretch of Shehu Shagari’ Three Arma zone road caused diversion of traffic as motorists were forced to take alternative routes near the Eagle Square.
It took the NLC President some hectic time before he could pacify the protesters who insisted that the Acting President should either come out to listen to their demands and grievances or they should all be allowed to go to the Presidential Villa.
“Comrades, we have been given the privilege to go and present our demands to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We have been given the rare privilege. They have seen our letter that on your behalf, the demands should be personally presented to him. Comrades, we are going to select 20 of our leaders .
Our is to send a strong message and we have produced a strong worded message . We have a letter to be submitted. We have two options, it is either that someone will come here and collect the letter or we select our representatives and meet with the Acting President. I think we have the honour and privilege to actually present the letter to him ” said Wabba as he tried to convince his members .
The rally which took off from the Unity Fountain, Maitama like a carnival with music was attended by members of NLC, TUC and affiliate unions such as Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, National Union of Local Government Employee, NULGEE among others.
Protesters who chanted labour solidarity songs carried placards with inscriptions such as ” Fight against corruption must be holistic” Gaging the media =protecting corruption” ” in the anti corruption war, a cow is a cow, no sacred cow” ” owing workers salary is an act of corruption” and many others.
Speaking earlier, NLC President, Ayuba Wabba said the rally which took place simultaneously in Lagos was organised to call for good governance in the country and the need to extend the war against corruption to state and local governments.
On his part, NLC Chairman, Ogun state Chapter, Ambali Akeem Olatunji said the war against corruption must cut accross all tiers of government insisting that good governance must include enhanced job security in public and private sectors.
While calling on government to institute living wage for workers as the current minimum wage is already unrealistic, Olatunji said the government also has the responsibility of making democracy work for all Nigerians and not just for the elites .